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Is ‘Part Pay With Avios’ for British Airways flights worth it in the Nectar era?

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Is it still worth using ‘Part Pay With Avios’ when booking British Airways flights, now that Nectar is an option?

‘Part Pay With Avios’ has, apparently, been very successful since it was launched.  It allows you to redeem your points for a discount against a cash ticket, although at the moment you are not allowed to pay the entire price with points. This will change soon ….

British Airways Holidays also embraced ‘Part Pay With Avios’ last year – click to read more.

Is Part Pay With Avios a good deal?

The Avios / Nectar partnership moved the goalposts

In early 2021 Avios and Nectar launched their partnership. The ba.com page to transfer your points to or from Nectar is at this link.

You can transfer Avios into Nectar points at the rate of 300 to 400. As a Nectar point is worth 0.5p when you spend them in Sainsbury’s, Argos, eBay.co.uk etc, it means your Avios now have a floor value of 0.66p (0.5p x 400 / 300).

You can spend all your Avios in Sainsbury’s or Argos by turning them into Nectar points, and get a fixed 0.66p per Avios. This means that you should not be redeeming Avios anywhere else when you get under 0.66p of value.

Unfortunately, redeeming for ‘Part Pay With Avios’ will mean that you will often get less than 0.66p per Avios.

Let’s look at ‘Part Pay With Avios’ for BA flights

Just for clarity, before we get started, remember that ‘Part Pay With Avios’ is NOT the same as ‘Pay with Avios and Money’:

  • ‘Part Pay With Avios’ lets you reduce the cash component of a standard cash flight ticket by redeeming some Avios
  • ‘Pay with Avios and Money’ lets you reduce the Avios component of an Avios redemption ticket by paying some cash instead

We last looked at ‘Avios and Money’ redemptions in this article.

How to use part pay with Avios on British Airways

How to use ‘Part Pay With Avios’ on British Airways

You can find full details of ‘Part Pay With Avios’ on the British Airways site here.

As well as using ‘Part Pay With Avios’ for British Airways flights, it can also be used at ba.com to discount American Airlines flights between the UK and North America.

It can also be used on the majority of British Airways codeshare flights.

Using ‘Part Pay With Avios’ on short haul:

On short haul European flights, you currently receive between 0.44p and 1p per point.  The value gets worse the more points you redeem. 

Here is a typical example for an Economy flight to Hamburg, although the exact numbers may vary by route:

  • £6 off for 600 Avios (1p per Avios)
  • £10 off for 1,000 Avios (1p per Avios)
  • £18 off for 1,980 Avios (0.91 per Avios)
  • £26 off for 3,250 Avios (0.80p per Avios)
  • £42 off for 6,600 Avios (0.64p per Avios) – slightly worse than Nectar
  • £78 off for 16,500 Avios (0.47p per Avios) – much worse than Nectar
  • £110 off for 24,600 Avios (0.44p per Avios) – much worse than Nectar

You will NOT be allowed to pay for your entire flight with Avios, although this is due to change during 2024.  In my example above, I was only offered a maximum of a £110 discount on a £230 fare.

Remember that you get 0.66p per Avios by redeeming them via Nectar in Sainsbury’s, in Argos or on eBay.

On this basis, you would be crazy to redeem 16,500 or 24,600 Avios against this booking. You are getting far less than 0.66p for your Avios.

How to use part pay with Avios on British Airways

Using ‘Part Pay With Avios’ on long haul:

Here is an example for a £895 long haul Economy flight on British Airways, showing how you could lose out on £183:

  • £20 off for 2,000 Avios (1p per Avios)
  • £50 off for 7,650 Avios (0.65p per Avios) – worse than Nectar
  • £90 off for 17,500 Avios (0.51p per Avios) – much worse than Nectar
  • £140 off for 31,000 Avios (0.45p per Avios) – much worse than Nectar
  • £190 off for 43,800 Avios (0.43p per Avios) – much worse than Nectar
  • £240 off for 55,500 Avios (0.43p per Avios) – much worse than Nectar
  • £330 off for 77,000 Avios (0.43p per Avios) – much worse than Nectar

1p per Avios is decent and I would always seriously consider making a 2,000 Avios redemption to reduce the cost of my ticket by £20 if the option was available. 

Below this level, however, there is no point using ‘Part Pay With Avios’. You are getting less – often far less – than the 0.66p per Avios that you get by redeeming via Nectar.

In the last example above, you are £183 worse off by using your Avios for a flight discount. The same 77,000 Avios would convert to Nectar points worth £513.

Is ‘Part Pay With Avios’ ever worthwhile?

Unfortunately the answer is ‘not really’, apart from potentially using 1,000 Avios to save £10 or 2,000 Avios to save £20.

This is not a new discovery. It has nothing to do with the Nectar partnership.

Is Part Pay With Avios worth it?

I target a 1p return when I spend my Avios, so almost all of the ‘Part Pay With Avios’ options were bad value in my book.

The only thing that has changed with Nectar is that it has crystalised my opinion as fact.

You no longer need to take it on trust from us that getting 0.43p per Avios – as you get in some examples above – is a bad deal. You can get 0.66p per Avios via Nectar as a guaranteed return so don’t waste your points accepting less.

You can’t even use the excuse any longer that ‘I get all of my Avios points from business travel so I don’t mind what I get for them’. Even if all your Avios are ‘free’ from business travel, it makes no sense to redeem them for less than the 0.66p per point that Nectar offers.

PS. You can also look at this the other way around

Let’s flip the question. Is it worth converting Nectar points to Avios to part-pay for British Airways flights?

1 Nectar point is worth 0.5p when used in Sainsburys or (based on 400 Nectar points = 250 Avios) can be converted into 0.625 Avios.

[Pulls out calculator ….]

Unless you get more than 0.8p per Avios, you should NOT be converting your Nectar points – and as you can see above, ‘Part Pay With Avios’ will NOT get you 0.8p except when using small quantities.

This means that it is NOT worth converting Nectar points into Avios to use them for ‘Part Pay with Avios’, unless it is for a token 1,000 Avios for £10 off (short haul) or 2,000 Avios for £20 off (long haul).


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 2024)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £15,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital on Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital on Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,000 points bonus – plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and FREE for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (43)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • BA Flyer IHG Stayer says:

    On short haul CE the lowest offer I seem to get is 3k avios for a £30 discount so 1p/avios and rapidly going downhill faster than Frans Klammer on the Hahnenkamm.

    Under the distance based avios earning system you could earn a good chunk back meaning the value was even better with a £30 discount from spending a net 500 avios so 6p/ avios (that was AMS return)

    A Berlin return earned me 2976 asI spent a net 24 avios = £1.25/avios!

    Not had any flights yet under the new earning system yet but doubt the returns will be as good.

    • Gordon says:

      Franz Klammer!

    • G says:

      Depends on your avios income stream. Most of my avios over the past year has come from purchases, credit cards (sign ups/spending) and ironically enough service recovery.

      Take your point entirely though!

      • ADS says:

        how does the earning method have any impact on the calculation?

        surely we should be aiming for the most efficient use of Avios, regardless of the earning method!

        • John says:

          I think they mean if you use up your avios too quickly at 1p you might run out when a better opportunity presents itself. Not a problem for me I am approaching 1 million avios with nothing good to spend them on so I will happily redeem as much as I can at 0.9p

          • Gordon says:

            At present, I hold 3/4M Avios, and I am hoping there is not a devaluation any time soon! This is the problem of holding onto large numbers of avios for too long.

  • Vicryl22 says:

    Interesting, but even crystallised against Nectar, the value of Avios is still subjective. “£330 off for 77,000 Avios (0.43p per Avios) – much worse than Nectar…” but fire the casual collector who doesn’t collect Nectar, and rarely shops at Sainsbury’s or Argos, that’s £330 of hard cash off the bill, and it’s a win anyway. I’ll simply take that win and book the flight…

    • Rob says:

      But you can also spend Nectar points at Nectar Hotels for 0.5p per point, and get £500+ of free hotel instead of £330 off your flight. It literally makes no sense.

      You also have £500+ to spend at eBay, where you could buy gift cards to spend at the places that you do shop ….

      • Steve says:

        I’m not sure if the arbitrage is what makes the points collecting game fun, i.e. to maximise benefit, or beyond frustrating as you fear there is a better option elsewhere.

      • jj says:

        “But you can also spend Nectar points at Nectar Hotels …”

        [Checks his next hotel booking]

        7% more expensive than hotels.com, booking.com.17% more expensive than booking direct. No BA Shopping Avios earned. No hotels.com free night voucher.

        Thanks, but no thanks. That’s more like 0.4p per point. And I wouldn’t spend my Avios balance in Sainsbury’s, eBay or Argos in a lifetime of shopping.

        Converting Avios to Nectar literally makes no sense to me. Avios are best used for their intended purpose: redemption flights.

        • Rob says:

          But you’re not redeeming for a redemption flight!

          This article is about reducing the cost of a cash flight.

          • Jonathan says:

            Which earn Avios and Tier points, redemption (some refer to as ‘reward’) flights don’t !

            All tickets earn Tier points on VS, although I don’t think many other airlines all over the world offer something like this…

          • jj says:

            Exactly, @Rob. The reason it’s often silly to reduce the cash cost of a flight isn’t because those Avios could be used to pay for an overpriced redemption with Nectar hotels or overpriced loo roll in Sainsbury’s, which would be an equally silly thing to do. It’s because the current high price of cash flights means that it’s easy to get outsize value on redemption flights.

            I don’t disagree with your conclusion, but your logic on conversion to Nectar is flawed except for people who already have Sainsbury’s as their preferred supermarket. With a 15.6% market share, that’s not many people.

      • Lady London says:

        Uh? I thought ebay banned using Nectar pts to purchase gift cards?

  • Cat says:

    “[Pulls out calculator ….]”

    😲

  • ukpolak says:

    Another way to part-pay is with seat selection.

    played around with this to try to secure 3 of us (leisure booking done myself) to be guaranteed next to one other (to accompany a business booking for my wife to have all of us sat together) and the lowest Avios + cash redemption I’m sure has value of more than 1p/avios when I checked. It swiftly tails off per the examples above.

  • Phil says:

    I found avios on economy to be much better, I was looking flights to South Africa – using c10,000 Avios made the full avios booking £300 cheaper and included bags. I think had I used part pay with avios it was going to be many more avios to get down to £500

  • Nick Pike says:

    I must say I beg to differ on this. I would sooner spend my Avios on a flight, reducing the cost of a premium seat significantly, than instead cash them in and have weeks of free shopping at Sainsbury’s, which I don’t use anyway. Yes, in cash terms I’d be better off but I’d also be better off if I studied supermarket shopping prices online and only bought the best value items each week from whichever shop was selling them. I’d sooner pay £1 for a Club return somewhere than get free loo rolls for the next two years. Am I alone in this?

    • L Allen says:

      I’m with you on this. I tend to want the tier points so it’s more useful to discount a cash fare than get up at midnight and plan a year in advance to redeem some Avios.

      As a side note, although Avios earning is now a pittance compared to what it used to be, you still earn them based on the full cash value of the fare even if you use some of your Avios to discount the price.

  • Jenny Reed says:

    I looked at the options for doing this with Qatar yesterday. Its website offered me a total of £750 off of two business class flights for about 175k of Avios. 0.4p per Avios, and requiring more Avios than is needed for a whole flight Avios business class redemption for the same route. I don’t think so.

  • flyforfun says:

    Is there any chance with AI that it would be able to solve the problem of when it’s a good deal to use Avios (Part Pay, Pay With etc etc) vs Cash vs Anything else?

    • G says:

      Difficult because people have an emotional aspect to their money and the value people place on this. It’s why schemes like Avios exist.

      You can’t do much better than Martin Lewis’ money mantra.If you’re not skint; will you use it? Is it worth it? Will it bring you joy?

      If your goal is to go to X destination, picking the cheapest option – balanced against the time you have, is the best option.

    • Andrew. says:

      Not if BA & Nectar start using AI to target the pricing.

    • Rob says:

      To be fair, I think 11+ maths should be good enough 🙂

      Replace ‘Avios’ for ‘x’ and solve.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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